Sunday, April 06, 2014

Two-Way Prayer--Part of Our AA History

You know the history of Alcoholics Anonymous and you also know that the basics of our AA grew out of the practices of the Oxford Group that began in Europe in the 1930's. What I didn't know, and maybe you are just learning as well is that the core of the Oxford Group practice was a spiritual ritual called "Two-Way Prayer".

Two Way Prayer was the invention of--or maybe the discovery of--The Oxford Group founder, American businessman Frank Buchman. He had a powerful surrender experience that freed him of some longstanding resentments and as he experienced the resentment leaving him he noticed that it allowed God to flow into his life.

He, like Bill Wilson later on codified his experience and taught others to use Two-Way Prayer and the organization became the Oxford Group that later Roland Hazard will bring to Ebby Thacher  and Ebby to Bill Wilson and Bill to Dr. Bob.

The elements of two-way prayer and the direct communication with God (In the Oxford practices) were teased apart by Bill and Bob and into what we now know as the twelve steps.

The basis of two-way prayer is a daily morning practice of sitting with a notebook or diary, getting very quiet and having a written conversation with God. (We might say Higher Power). The Oxford Group taught that it must be morning and in writing and at least ten minutes or more. You write to God and ask questions and then you listening quietly (or using active imagination) write back to yourself from God.

I have been trying Two Way prayer for the recommended 30 days and it is a very healing practice, and it recalls that part of our Big Book that says we will learn to hear our Higher Power's plans for us. It does work.

What is most fascinating is that early AA's were required to have this morning devotional and two way prayer each day. No exceptions. In fact, in the early days of AA going to meetings was considered a nicety but not required. But two way prayer and a daily practice of morning meditation was absolutely insisted upon.

To learn more please take a look at the website: Two Way Prayer. org. Or click on the link below for more information and to watch some brief talks describing the history and the technique.

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